As a long-time 4-H advisor, working with youth required a bit of craftiness along the way. My favorite craft projects for kids were those inspired by nature. These types of kid craft projects opened the doorway to teach the next generation about plants, the environment and how to be stewards of our planet.
My Fondest Craft Projects for Kids
One of my favorite crafts projects for kids was creating a plant and flower photo frame. This day-camp favorite could be tweaked to accommodate many different types of plant-based activities. Here are a few ways a simple flower photo frame craft project can be incorporated into educational lessons:
- Pollinators – Discuss the importance of pollinators to the agricultural industry, then take a nature walk. Just like bees seek out wildflowers for their nectar, have the kids seek out and pick wildflowers to decorate their flower photo frame.
- Legumes – Discuss how legumes “fix” nitrogen in the soil, then identify and collect common legume leaves and their flowers in the yard.
- Tree identification – Collect a variety of brightly colored autumn leaves to decorate homemade photo frames. Discuss the features of leaves and how trees are often identified by their foliage.
- Native vs. invasive species – Help kids identify invasive species of plants and explain the importance of preserving native plant life. Collect the leaves or flowers from invasive species, while leaving native plants untouched.
How to Make a Photo Frame
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy decorating photo frames with plant life. Grab a few pine boughs, red ribbon and a couple pinecones to create seasonal frames or dry fragrant flowers to adorn frames for all seasons. Either way, the basics of this craft are the same.
Begin by collecting plant materials. Take a walk with your children through the backyard, nearby park or nature preserve. (Check ahead of time to make sure it’s allowable to collect plant life.) Use this time to point out and discuss plant life pertinent to the lesson plan.
When teaching children how to make a photo frame from plant materials, it’s helpful to collect more leaves and flowers than needed. Seed heads and dried plant material are more fragile, but produce a more attractive flower photo frame. Fresh flowers, leaves and plants usually wilt too quickly.
Once the children return to the crafting area, inexpensive craft foam or cardboard frames can be used as a backboard to which plant materials are attached. If time allows, flowers and leaves can be preserved by drying or pressing. Dried plant material will usually adhere with craft glue. If not, try clear tape. (Use a layering method to hide any exposed tape.)